Westley Group Raises More Than $100 Million for Second Fund

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The California-based Westly Group venture capital firm plans to announce next week the closing of its second fund, exceeding $100 million and focused on clean-technology companies, founder Steve Westly said on Wednesday.

The fund’s investors include its principals, pension funds, strategic investors and high net worth families, said Westly, a former California’s state controller and top eBay Inc (EBAY.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) executive, speaking at the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco.

“I will have a formal announcement next week. Our goal was to raise $100 million despite a historically challenging financial market. We will exceed that goal,” Westly said.

“We made a large personal commitment to the fund. We believe that is important, so the principals in our fund committed over 20 percent of the capital of the fund,” Westly added.

Westly said he also is confident cleantech companies will help propel initial public offerings.

“I’m incredibly bullish about the IPO market in 2010,” Westly said, adding he expects a dozen initial public offering of cleantech companies. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we exceeded that.”

Other investment areas of interest to the Westly Group are electric vehicles — it has invested in electric car maker Tesla Motors — smart-grid technology, green building materials, recycling and solar energy.

“We think the entire solar marketplace is dynamic,” Westly said. “It is going to change quickly. There will continue to be new opportunities and we are looking at two to three solar companies as we speak.”

Westly Group is also seeking opportunities in China, which the venture capital firm plans to use as a springboard into the broader Asia market.

Westly noted he travels to China every 90 days to meet with other venture capital firms as well as government officials.

(Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by Richard Chang)